More than a year before Nikolas Cruz allegedly went on a shooting spree at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that resulted in 17 deaths, school officials and a sheriff's deputy had recommended he be involuntarily committed for mental evaluation, according to documents obtained by the Associated Press.
It's unclear who received the officials' recommendation to commit Cruz and why it was not acted upon, according to the AP.
The documents, provided by mental health facility Henderson Behavioral Health, reportedly described disturbing examples of Cruz's behavior, such as cutting his arm after breaking up with his girlfriend, telling a classmate that he wanted to buy a gun and use it, and telling another that he threw up after drinking gasoline. He told another student he had drunk gasoline and was vomiting.
Under Florida's Baker Act, the mental health examination would have permitted him to be held for at least three days and the commitment would have made it hard, if not impossible, for Cruz to purchase a gun.
The documents were provided by a psychological assessment service initiated by Cruz's mother called Henderson Behavioral Health.
Officials were so concerned about the mental stability of the student accused of last month's Florida school massacre that they chose to have him forcibly committed more than a year before the shootings.
Under Florida's Baker Act, involuntary commitment of a person may be initiated by an official, including a judge, mental health physician or law enforcement officer, such as Peterson.
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Deputy Peterson was still serving as the school resource officer at Stoneman Douglas High when Mr. Cruz carried out his deadly rampage. Peterson is the man who resigned for failing to enter the building where the shooting was occurring for several minutes after arriving first at the scene.
But Deputy Peterson apparently changed his mind about the commitment request the next day. Cruz was indicted on 34 counts of permitted murder and attempted murder.
"If he had lied, hopefully the verification of the form would have pulled up the commitment paperwork", Weinstein said. The push to have Cruz committed is new but the documents the AP has seen don't explain why the commitment never happened.
Cruz is charged with killing 17 people and wounding 17 others.
Five days earlier, on September 23, Ms. Cruz had summoned a different Henderson clinician to her home because Mr. Cruz was verbally aggressive and "punching holes in the wall". "(Cruz) states that he is better now, reports that he is no longer lonely and states that his grades have gone back up". Surveillance video showed that the deputy remained outside the freshman building during the shooting and did not try to confront Mr. Cruz, in apparent violation of the Broward County Sheriff's Office policy for dealing with active shooters.
The FBI was also under fire for not acting on tips suggesting Cruz was possibly planning a school shooting.
It's not clear from the documents who the recommendation was forwarded to or why it was not followed up.